U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, and U.S. Representatives Nita Lowey and Sean Patrick Maloney today announced nearly $3.8 million in federal funds to elevate four locations along interstate 87 in the towns of Tuxedo and Ramapo in Orange and Rockland Counties to minimize the risk of future flooding. Project sites are between mile posts 39.77 and 39.53, between mile posts 37.92 and 37.76, between mile posts 32.2 and 32.1, and between mile posts 30.68 and 31.1. This grant, which is being awarded as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) will offset 75% of the total project costs. Severe and persistent rainfall last year led to severe flooding of the Ramapo River, which led to the underwater submersion of portions of Interstate 87 in Tuxedo and Ramapo for several days. The $3,765,503.00 grant will allow construction to start on the much needed infrastructure project in Orange and Rockland Counties.
“It is not enough to simply rebuild and repair; we must also prepare ourselves for the next storm and the next potential flood. That’s exactly what this federal grant will do, helping to lower the risk of flood damage along I-87 that could keep cars and trucks stuck in neutral,” said Senator Schumer. “Orange and Rockland Counties were hit particularly hard by last year’s downpours and the subsequent flooding of the Ramapo River, so taking steps to elevate I-87 at its most vulnerable points is a prudent use of federal dollars, as it will protect drivers, residents, first responders and local businesses.”
“After severe storms that produced floods that washed away our roads and bridges, this is the right investment to strengthen Orange and Rockland Counties, and help reduce the burden on local taxpayers,” Senator Gillibrand said. “And instead of rebuilding in the same areas we know will be prone to flooding again, elevating these highway sections will help strengthen our resiliency to future storms, and help keep families and businesses on the move in the Hudson Valley.”
“I have fought hard to bolster hazard mitigation efforts that reduce risk and build resiliency in our communities,” said Congresswoman Lowey, the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, which provides FEMA funding annually. “As hundred year floods now occur several times per decade, these improvements will put people to work, invest in infrastructure, and save money and lives in the future. These federal funds, in partnership with state and local investments, will help towns recover more easily from future disasters and keep major roads clear during states of emergency. I will continue to work in Congress to bring essential federal resources that improve our quality of life to the Lower Hudson Valley.”
“My neighbors in Tuxedo were some of the hardest hit by devastating floods, and this critical investment in infrastructure is a step in the right direction that creates jobs, repairs the damage done by disasters like Irene, Lee, and Sandy, and keeps Hudson Valley families safe,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. “We will continue to partner with local, state and federal officials to mitigate the effects of flooding from the Ramapo and secure strategic investments in the Hudson Valley’s aging infrastructure.”
FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides funding under Section 404 of the Stafford Act, the federal disaster law that supplies aid to states and localities to implement long-term resiliency measures after a major disaster. The purpose of these grants is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster.